Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Homemade Pasta

Miracle Pasta Machine
Somehow in the hustle of the holidays and the newness of the new year, I have neglected to tell you how in love I am with this shiny little machine that turns flour, eggs and salt into something so spectacular! This year I decided to get all artisan-y with some holiday gifts and put my new machine to use. There were a couple of days where my kitchen was covered in flour, chairs were unusable thanks to their duties as pasta drying racks and my fingers were endlessly caked with the remnants of crusty dough. But I thought: How cool this will be to give something with so much love poured into it. I made the recipe a couple of times before I set out on this adventure so I was feeling pretty good about it.   

 I used Anne Burrell's recipe from the Food Network site. Then I added some smoked paprika & garlic salt to one for a red (orangeish really) dough, and to the other I added a ton of chopped herbs for the green dough.
Super thin dough

Once I put it through the magic machine a few times, I got these beautiful sheets of dough, so thin you could see through them! 
Drying pasta sheets
Once they had dried a bit, the magic machine cut them into spaghetti & fettucini and I cut some larger papardelli by hand. It was glorious! But of course, two crazy things were going to happen to this pasta.

Papardelli, fettucini, and spaghetti drying 
The first crazy thing was that I decided to include some as a gift to my guy's parents who live in Massachusetts. This seemed like a great idea at the time, since he is always bragging to them about me being a decent cook and all. So I made some red wine pasta sauce and put it into a cute canning jar, bagged up the pasta all cute with raffia and little tags saying what kind they were. Then they went into a box of stuff he was sending to them. An un-refrigerated box, which then made the four thousand mile trek to the East Coast. Do I really need to say what happened next? Yes, you guessed it. The box then sat under the tree for a week or so as they dutifully waited for Christmas morning to open it. Right, so by then they were starting to look around the house for what was causing the strange smell that they couldn't quite place. 

Now of course, when they finally do open the damn box, the jar of sauce had broken into a bloody mess which surrounded not only the other gifts in the box but also the bags of MOLDY pasta, all not-so-cute any more in their darling little bags, the eggs from which it was made had long since gone south.  

We got a call from them on Christmas morning and I hear him absolutely dying, crying with laughter. Good thing they have a sense of humor because this became the funniest thing they had ever seen and one of those Christmas stories that will live on in their family for, god help me, forever. 

I had to laugh too, but I still have to shake my head in a sway of failure. But it really is hilarious.    
Herb Pasta Sheets & Red Pepper and Garlic Pasta Sheets
And that's just the first of two crazy things that happened with this pasta. The second was when I decided to throw a spontaneous Italian Feast Extravaganza on Christmas Day since my kids were with dad. (Mind you, I had refrigerated my stash of the pasta). So there was a delightful gathering of the seven of us, of course all crammed into my very hot kitchen. We cranked up Luciano Pavarotti, clanked our glasses of red wine together as arms tangled in the preparations. We made a few different homemade pizzas and of course the pasta. It wasn't until I was standing in the middle of the kitchen that I had the fearful realization that I was cooking for a real live chef of a very nice Italian restaurant, as well as the manager of Honolulu's finest french restaurant. Oye vey. They were wonderful though. They became my sous chefs as my chef friend gently alerted me that the pasta was a little too thin, or was it thick? I don't remember.... no one else noticed!

Thankfully, everything was pulled off okay and as we gathered in my living room, the Christmas tree and a bunch of candles lighting the faces of my dear friends who I was feeding, we decided that this would have to be an annual event. It was beautiful, but man, I'm glad it's over!

 I haven't made any pasta dough since, but I realize now that my horror of the gift box and my anxiety of feeding real live food people has passed, and my kitchen is once again ready to be covered in flour. And I will never again forget to refrigerate fresh pasta.

"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti".
~Sophia Loren

No comments:

Post a Comment